Home > Uncategorized > The clock “Tik Tok”s on the remix culture

The clock “Tik Tok”s on the remix culture

It seems a deluge of examples have come to the fore in the last few days of what Professor Lawrence Lessig calls the Remix culture. Zeitgeist examined the recent parodies / mashups of the brand hijacking of Nike’s enormously popular “Write the Future” campaign as well as the intellectual property implications behind them recently. Last month, The Simpsons, now in it’s 22nd year of broadcasting, opened one episode in a montage using Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” as the background music (see above).

As evinced by the below video, the song clearly made an impact in Israel as well, tasteful or otherwise as you may think it. It shows the power of popular culture to permeate through all levels of society, as well as the inherently democratic nature of content creation today, from hit TV shows to amateur – very amateur – dancing soldiers. They are fun videos but pose a serious question; how are brands or products affected when they are co-opted by something else that gives them an altogether different meaning? The dialectics involved can lead to poor associations. St. George’s flag is currently seen as the banner of xenophobic nationalists in England, and Hitler casts a perpetual shadow over Wagner’s wonderful music. Now, more than ever, releasing content into the public domain means you are immediately relinquishing control over the meaning it may take on in the future.

  1. July 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Is it just me, or is a remix and a mashup something completely different?

    A remix is taking a work, cutting it into different segments, then using one or more segments in a different order and thereby making a new work.

    A mashup is taking two works and making that into one. It can be the acapella track over the karaoke track, or a different song over a videoclip. Or the soundtrack of a clip over another…..

    These are all parodies…. it is made explicitly for this song. The song simply is reused. Matt Groening made this clip himself (in all probability with the artists consent upfront)
    This has NOTHING to do with what Laurence Lessig says. I’m sorry.

    Please help the industry farther by informing them correctly – not giving bad info.


    • davidllewelynjones
      July 7, 2010 at 1:34 pm

      Mea culpa, I’ve used the terms “remix” and “mashup” interchangeably here. However the Remix culture that Lessig refers to does encapsulate the mashup, too.

      You’re right in saying that a mashup is “taking two works and making it into one”. This, I believe is what has been done here in both these videos, where two works – the video and the song – have been combined to make a new work. This is why I also reference Sergei Eisenstein’s theory of dialectics; together the audio and the video create a new association, a new meaning.

      It relates to Lessig’s work in that his comments on the plurality of content and the ability and ease with which anyone can take professionally made content and submit it to a new interpretation are demonstrated by this video of Israeli soldiers. The Matt Groening clip is there for the juxtaposition of this argument.

      I’m sorry if this wasn’t all made clear in the article. I hope this clears things up. You’re welcome to disagree; these are merely the ramblings of Zeitgeist.

  1. July 7, 2010 at 11:17 am

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